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Pacific Storm and Surf Forecast
Updated: January 1, 2006 4:39 PM
Buoys: Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Buoy Forecast:
Northern CA - Southern CA - Hawaii - Gulf of Alaska - Pacific Northwest
Pacific Links:  Atmospheric Models - Buoy Data - Current Weather - Wave Models
Forecast Archives: Enter Here
A chronology of recent Mavericks Underground forecasts. Once you enter, just click on the HTML file forecast you want to review (e.g. 073199.html equals July 31, 1999). To view the maps that correspond to that forecast date, select the html file labeled 073199 maps.html
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Swell Potential Rating = 5.5 - California & 5.5 - Hawaii
Using the 'Winter' Scale
(See Swell Category Table link at bottom of page)
Probability for presence of largest swells in near-shore waters of NCal, SCal or Hawaii.    
Issued for Week of Monday 12/26 thru Sun 1/1
Swell Potential Rating Categories
5 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Significant swell
4 = Good probability for 1-2 days of Significant swell
3 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Utility swell
2 = Good probability for  1-2 days of Utility swell
1 = Good probability for 3 or more days of Impulse or Windswell
0 = Low probability for 1-2 days of Impulse or Windswell   

Swell #8 Moves Towards CA
2 More Storms Then Pattern Weakens

 

Note: Forecasts will be updated on an 'as-available' basis through 1/7

PACIFIC OVERVIEW
On Sunday (1/1) Northern CA surf was double overhead and blown out. South facing breaks were head high to 3 ft overhead and blown out. Central California surf was up to double overhead and blown out. Southern CA breaks from Santa Barbara to just north of LA were up to 2 ft overhead at the best breaks with most in the chest high range. The LA area southward to Orange County was chest to head high with sets up to 2 ft overhead. Southward from Orange County into San Diego waves were chest to head high. The North Shore of Oahu was double overhead. The South Shore was flat. The East Shore was chest high.

Next up is a series of swells focused for California starting with Swell #8, followed by Possible Swells #9 and #10. Hawaii has already gotten lot's of present this holiday season, and things are to be less generous there, though not flat. The storm pattern is shifting east and is then to pretty much fall apart, so the end is being depicted on the chats. Don't expect it to go totally flat, but the swell machine is likely going to take a break. See details below...

 

SHORT- TERM FORECAST
Current marine weather and wave analysis plus forecast conditions for the next 72 hours

North Pacific

Overview
Sundays (1/1) jetstream was looking much less energetic than in days past with winds still decent at 150 kts streaming flat from the dateline east right into North California, but nowhere near the 200 kt peaks of last week. The biggest highlight over the next 72 hours is the forecast development of a big trough just north of Hawaii late Tuesday with 170-180 kt winds feeding into it through Wednesday. This should support development of a solid surface level storm, but by Thursday it is to wash out. Beyond 72 hours the jet is to really fade in the east while it tries to stage a bit of a comeback in the west off Japan by Friday (1/6) with 150 kt winds starting to blow east over Taiwan. It is to make it to the dateline by Sunday (1/8) with a bit of a ridge forming there, but in all not real inspirational, especially compared to the past 2 weeks.

At the surface today a small but strong 970 mb low was setting up off Oregon with a front dragging down into California pushing south. 30-35 kt wet winds were also blowing from nearly north of Hawaii almost right into the North CA coast, suggesting piles of windswell was en route. Also Swell #8 was in the water hitting the outer buoys pushing east. The first little bit's of Storm #9 were starting to develop over the dateline too (see details below). This to be the primary swell source for the next few days.

After that Possible Storm #10 is to form in a deep trough in the jetstream just north of Hawaii on Wednesday (1/4) (see below).

 

Storm #8
Yet another solid storm pushed off Japan on Monday (12/26) with pressure 972 mbs and winds confirmed at 50-60 kts over a small area in it's south quadrant at 40N 158E aimed southeast right down the 307 degree path to Hawaii but well south of any route to California. The storm was tracking east and seas were building. In the evening pressure dropped to 964 mbs with winds moderating to 45-50 kts centered near 40N 160E aimed well down the 306 degree path to Hawaii.

By Tuesday AM (12/27) pressure was holding at 964 mbs with a broad fetch of 40 to near 50 kt winds terminating at 38N 164E aimed right down the 308 degree path to Hawaii and 40 degrees south of the 297 degree path to California. Seas were modeled at 32 ft centered at 40N 160E. In the evening pressure was up to 972 mbs. A solid 40-50 kt fetch was centered at 35N 172E aimed right down the 306 degree path to Hawaii and 35 degree south of the 292 degree path to California. Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 37N 163E.

On Wednesday (12/28) no big change was occurring with the center pushing slowly east. Winds still 40-50 kts at 34N 175E aimed a little more south or right down the 306 degree path to Hawaii and 25 degrees south of the 292 degree path into North CA (295 SCal). Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 35N 165E. In the evening 40-45 kt fetch to be approaching the dateline at 35N 178E but losing a little coverage area aimed like before. Seas were modeled at 35 ft centered at 35N 170E.

On Thursday AM (12/29) the storm was starting to contract as it hit the dateline with pressure 968 mbs and winds forecast at 35-40 kts centered at 35N 175W aimed due east, or aimed 20 degrees east of the 315 degree great circle path to Hawaii and 20 degrees south of the 285 degree great circle path to North CA (290 SCal). Seas were modeled at 35 ft at 34N 178E. In the evening the storm is to fall apart with pressure up to 976 mbs and winds down to 30-35 kts aimed east. Seas forecast at 32 ft centered at 35N 175W.

On Friday (12/30) the storm is to be gone with just residual winds of 30 kts pushing east. Residual seas forecast at 29 ft centered at 36N 168W. In the evening residual seas forecast at 29 ft at 35N 170W and fading fast.

This was not a particularly well organized system, with no high winds or tight gradients. Just your usual standard winter time North Pacific storm. But it had a moderately large fetch that tracked slowly east, getting good traction on the oceans surface generating every bit of sea height possible. The swell vector was aimed right at Hawaii, and the storm itself is to be positioned closest to the Islands, with the largest part of the swell expected to hit there with significant class size. Solid energy is to also push east, but mostly south of targets in California. This will actually generate swell a little more in the normal range (not significant class size), instead of the out-of-control larger swells of the recent past, but this swell to likely be lost under much larger locally generated swell.

North California: Expect swell arrival starting Sunday (1/1) just after sunset with period 20 secs and size tiny but building. Swell to peak starting near sunrise Monday (1/2) with swell 6.2-6.4 ft @ 17-18 secs (11-12 ft faces) holding through the day, fading some after sunset. It to be intermixed with mixed local swell producing seas of 14 ft @ 16 secs (16-18 ft faces). Solid energy to continue on Tuesday (1/3) with period in the 15 secs range and combined swell 11-12 ft @ 14-15 secs (15-17 ft faces). In general this entire swell is to be totally buried under a stronger locally generated windswell. Swell Direction: 281-284 degrees

South California: Expect swell arrival starting Monday (1/2) at sunrise with period 20 secs and size tiny but building slowly through the day. Swell to peak starting Tuesday (1/3) at 2 AM with swell 2.75-3.0 ft @ 17-18 secs at most breaks (4.7-5.4 ft faces) and up to 3.9-4.2 ft @ 17-18 secs at best breaks in San Diego and Santa Barbara (6.6-7.5 ft faces) and holding through the morning, fading some late afternoon. Solid energy to continue on Wednesday (1/4) with period in the 14-15 secs range. But this entire swell is to be totally buried under a much stronger locally generated swell. Swell Direction: 287-290 degrees

 

Possible Storm #9
On Sunday AM (1/1) a storm was developing just east of the dateline with pressure 984 mbs and winds forecast at 50 kts over a tiny area centered at 40N 175W aimed right down the 328 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas building. In the evening pressure to drop to 968 mbs with winds building to hurricane force 60-65 kts in the storms south quadrant over a tiny area centered at 40N 163W aimed due east. That's right up the 287 degree path to California with maybe some fleeting residual fetch aimed at Hawaii down the 350 degree path. Seas forecast over a tiny area at 38 ft at 41N 167W.

On Monday AM (12/02) pressure to drop to 962 mbs with 55-60 kt fetch continuing in it's south quadrant at 40N 151W aimed due east right up the 285 degree great circle path to NCal (294 SCal). Seas forecast at 40 ft centered at 41N 154W. In the evening the storm is to push east with 50-55 kt winds continuing at 42N 142W aimed right at NCal up the 292 degree great circle path (297 SCal). Seas building to 44 ft at 42N 145W within 1200 nmiles of the NCal coast.

On Tuesday AM (1/3) this system to head northeast towards Canada with residual 45-50 kt winds fading out aimed best from Cape Mendocino northward and the leading edge of the fetch getting dangerously close to the Northern CA coast. Seas still 42 ft at 45N 140W, 700 nmiles from San Francisco and north of the 305 degree great circle path. By evening this storm is to be gone with a new one building right behind it.

This is to be a small, short-lived but powerful system positioned too close to North CA to be optimal allowing a fair amount of shorter period warble to still be present when the swell arrives. Still seas are forecast to be high enough and close enough so that swell decay will not be an issue, with a large long period swell expected to result. And the local wind forecast has improved, so there is actually hope that North CA might see some rideable surf from this one. Central and South Ca are also good targets for this storms energy. Conversely this storm is to be too far east of Hawaii to have optimal impact, though solid significant class sideband energy is likely to push into the Islands for a brief spurt. Will monitor.

Rough data suggest swell arrival in Hawaii on Tuesday late afternoon (1/3) with period at 16-17 secs peaking after sunset. North CA swell arrival targeted for early Wednesday AM (1/4) with period 20+ secs and Southern CA late that afternoon.

 

Possible Storm #10
On Tuesday AM (1/3) the first signals of this system are to start evolving just 900 nmiles northwest of Hawaii with pressure 1000 mbs and winds 45 kts over a tiny area aimed aimed 25 degrees east of the 336 degree great circle path to Hawaii. Seas building. In the evening pressure is to drop to 984 mbs with a building fetch of 45-50 kt winds taking aim on Hawaii just 600-800 nmiles due north of Hawaii and aimed right down the 357 degree path there. Seas forecast at 32 ft at 34N 161W.

On Wednesday (1/4) pressure is to drop to 970 mbs with 55 kt winds forecast at 36N 147W aimed 45 degrees south of the 287 degree great circle path to South CA. Seas building to 31 ft at 33N 151W. By evening this system is to peak out with pressure 962 mbs and winds 55 kts at 37N 143W aimed at aimed right down the 287 degree path to SCal (273 NCal). Seas forecast at 44 ft at 37N 145W.

On Thursday AM (1/5) pressure to hold at 962 mbs while the storm lifts north. 45-50 kt winds forecast at 42N 140W pushing towards SCal CA down the 297 degree path (292 NCal). Seas forecast at 42 ft at 40N 140W. By evening this system is to be gone.

If this one develops as forecast a solid significant class swell will push towards California aimed equally well at both ends of the state. Large raw size and solid period should result. Hawaii should receive a short burst of energy from this one too, but it's to be very raw given the fetches close proximity to the coast.

 

North Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

California Offshore Forecast
On Sunday (1/1) the models suggest the south wind regime that has held control of the north part of the state is to finally break. Current data indicates light northwest winds to move in on Monday (1/2), then a short return to south winds on Tuesday (1/3) then it's over with light winds onward through the end of next week. Southern CA to see south winds on Monday, but after that it's smooth sailing with swells 9 & 10 still in queue.

The 5 Day wind forecast is now included with the surf & swell overview in the QuikCAST's.

 

South Pacific

Overview
No swell producing fetch forecast over the next 72 hours.

South Pacific Animations: Jetstream - Surface Pressure/Wind - Sea Height - Surf Height

 

QuikCAST's

 

LONG-TERM FORECAST
Marine weather and forecast conditions 3-10 days into the future

North Pacific

Beyond 72 hours one more storm is forecast off Japan starting on Tuesday (1/3) with pressure dropping to 968 mbs but only 45 kt winds and 35 ft seas taking aim on Hawaii but making no real eastward progress, not even reaching the dateline and dissipating on Thursday (1/5). After that a series of small systems are forecast pushing east across the dateline well north of the path of weeks past centered on the 45N latitude. Not stagnant, but much calmer than it has been.

 

South Pacific

Beyond 72 hours no swell producing fetch is forecast.

Details to follow...


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Surf Height-Swell Height Correlation Table

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